Best nonfiction book: “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini


Nonfiction books aren’t a drag anymore; they’re an indulgence. Now featured on my blog: a few notes on some of my absolute recommend-it-to-anyone favorites.

This month’s best nonfiction book: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

Is this really one of the best nonfiction books out there? Why?

Hard to do justice to this book in a sentence, except to say that is very likely the best book on sales ever written.

What will I get out of this best nonfiction book that will make it worth my time?

Cialdini identifies the six major tools of influence (i.e. sales):

  • Reciprocation;
  • Commitment/consistency;
  • Social proof;
  • Liking;
  • Authority; and
  • Scarcity.

On reciprocation: Giving gifts—even very small ones—creates a major sense of obligation in the receiver to reciprocate. Often, they will jump at the chance to get rid of that perceived obligation. The takeaway for salespeople: Give small “free gifts” before making the big sale. Or, ask for something big first, then retreat to something smaller when they say no, so they feel they owe you the sale.

On consistency: People have, and want to have, a strong sense of personal identity. If a potential buyer is “primed” beforehand to identify with your product, they’re much more likely to go all the way with it. The takeaway for salespeople: Get potential buyers to identify with your product in some (seemingly voluntary) way, such as agreeing to write a letter, sign a petition, display a small sticker or logo, pass along an email, etc. This also creates a perceived commitment, which they are loathe to go back on later. Or, get someone to commit to a product by making a lowball offer, then raise it later.

On social proof: People copy each other. They just can’t help it. No one can do all the research themselves; they rely on others to lead the way. The takeaway for salespeople: Use the cliché pitches: “fastest-growing,” “most popular,” customer testimonials, etc.

On liking: Liking is also a super effective way to encourage the desire to buy. The takeaway for salespeople: Think about how can you get people to like or root for your brand—to be on your side, identify with your cause, want to spread the word.

The book also discusses the principle of contrast, saying that when you first try to sell a higher priced item, or you artificially raise the price to begin with, when you take it down a notch it feels like a great deal.

Where can I further investigate this best nonfiction book?

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion on Amazon


It’s Zen, only more practical.

Get The Naked House: Five Principles for a More Peaceful Home on Amazon.


More Reading Choices:

Top 500 Nonfiction Books

Top 35 Books for Mystics

Top 20 Spiritual Memoirs

Best Meditation Books

The Ordinary Mystic Blog Posts

Best Books for Mystics Blog Posts







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